In Shades of Dusty Green

As the story goes, there was a young man in the neighborhood who had the mind of a child. He, too, lived on Road 74, not far from my great-grandparents� house. He was looked after by his mother and father, who kept watch over their son�s daily routine with a quiet sense of sadness, guilt, and pride.

Their house was shaded by walnut and sycamore trees. Their yard consisted of a small patch of thirsty unmown grass in front of their west-facing steps, and a dusty driveway beaten solid by the narrow tires of an old pickup that seemed never to have been driven further than town. The absence of flowers and shrubs left the walls and foundation exposed, as if color were more than they could bear.

More than anything, this man, this child, wanted to fly. He loved airplanes, especially the crop-dusters flying over fields of cotton and melons. The machines excited him � the propellers and the noise and wind they made, the simple landing gear like legs with round rubber shoes, the tiny cockpit and bug-splattered windshield, the crudely bolted panels of the fuselage, and all of it somehow tied to the miracle of flight.

For hours and days at a time, he waited and watched for a plane to fly over. When one appeared, he stared at it in wonder, pointing, smiling, laughing, running from one end of the yard to the other as it passed overhead. Finally, through an act of kindness that was mostly intended as a joke, the flight-hungry man-child was invited by a local pilot to a landing strip to ride in his plane. �I�ll take you flying,� he said. �You can go up in the air like a bird.�

The pilot started the plane and helped the young man in. Yelling at him that it was time for take-off, he increased the engine�s speed and shut the door. Inside, panic and delight. When the plane finally �landed,� the new pilot stepped onto the ground, his legs trembling as if he had been months away at sea. He had flown! What visions he must have seen. Elated and proud, he joined in the laughter around him.

July 29, 2005

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Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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